My little F has celebrated her first birthday. She's already walking. Started at 10 months old. Younger than her big brother T.
Meanwhile my very close friend, their Aunt M, is expecting her first at the end of spring. We're all so excited. Just wish they lived closer than a 17/18 hr drive. Seeing them busily prepare for their first bundle of joy (and that spell check keeps wanting to capitalize joy!) started me thinking about what was useful and what wasn't with our second baby. So here goes!
Arms Reach Bedside Sleeper- I am such a fan! As we didn't want to bedshare this was the best compromise. The sleeper attaches to the side of the bed. We could reach over and touch F while sleeping or roll over to nurse/change diapers. We've used this with two babies so far and I'm use if we're blessed with a third will use it again. Age used: newborn-5 months
Crib: ok, this is a tricky one. I am a huge fan of Montessori style floor beds. With T when we switched him to a Montessori floor bed it made a huge difference. You totally childproof a room and put a mattress on the floor. No fall hazards and baby can entertain himself instead of crying first thing upon waking. We'd planned on a floor bed with F too. But we ended up getting a long-term houseguest in her future room and I didn't want to also lose the guest room. So while she's sleeping in our room she's in a crib. We bought a convertible. Eventually it will become the bedstead for the guest bedroom. Age: 5months +
Playpen: first child unnecessary. One story house unnecessary. Older child or two story house useful.
We really didn't use a play yard with T. The house was child proofed.
Swing/bouncer: can be useful is the right circumstances. Generally however a carrier can do the same thing. We did occasionally use the bouncer. It was nice occasionally to put baby down in something that still had motion. But it's so easy to rely on it! Overall though it's not a priority and was used for weeks in all. A swing might be more fun in all. Now an outdoor swing on the other hand that's useful!
Jumperoo/ Exosaucer- fun for a couple months. Entertainment for while working with your older kid on math or phonics. But really? I want it out of my house. For the cost and space why bother?
Tummy Time Mat- Babies seem to hate tummy time. These mats may seem silly but in my experience they are worthwhile. The key is the bright mini boppy. Much smaller than a standard nursing pillow it is the perfect height to prop baby on stomach for tummy time. Both babies found tummy time more tolerable using it.